Tate & Lyle : Pure Economic Loss and the Modern Tort of Public Nuisance


  • J. W. Neyers Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law, Western University, Canada.
  • Andrew Botterell Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Department of Philosophy, Western University, Canada.




Professor Lewis Klar criticizes the Canadian approach to the tort of public nuisance for

being illogical and incoherent. The authors agree with Klar’s assessment of the current state

of public nuisance law, but argue that insights drawn from the House of Lords decision in

Tate & Lyle Industries Ltd. v. Greater London Council offer a way forward. By

conceptualizing the tort of public nuisance as a cause of action that protects subjects from

suffering actual loss that is consequential on the violation of their passage and fishing rights

over public property, Tate & Lyle offers a coherent and restrained formulation of the tort

of public nuisance. This article examines the Tate & Lyle approach to public nuisance and

applies it to two infamous Canadian public nuisance cases. It concludes that the coherent,

logical approach to public nuisance articulated by the House of Lords in Tate & Lyle should

be readopted by Canadian courts.




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